The newest university craze: Quidditch!
Recently, I got an email from my student union advertising new and exciting things to do in the town of Durham. One option, much to my surprise, was to join the quidditch team!
Quidditch is the main sport of Hogwarts, the magic school in the Harry Potter series. In the book, Harry Potter and his teammates fly around on broomsticks, dodging flying balls and scoring points through goals high above the ground. I was immediately excited by the idea, and for a while I daydreamed about doing the same and flying round my university football field looking for the golden snitch.
Of course, I quickly realised that the Harry Potter books are fiction, and flying broomsticks are probably not involved in weekly university sports matches. Although I am still bitter about not receiving my acceptance letter to Hogwarts at the age of 11, I decided that playing quidditch would be the closest I would ever get to magic school, so I looked up the rules for “Muggle quidditch”. “Muggle” in the Harry Potter world is the word for non-magic people who are neither witches nor wizards.
Most of the rules of muggle quidditch are the same as the original game, but with allowances made for the lack of magic. This often means that the game looks quite ridiculous! Instead of flying around on broomsticks, players must run around the field with a broomstick held between their legs. And the golden snitch, which the seeker must catch to end the game, does not fly around the pitch avoiding the players: instead, it is a tennis ball in a long sock that is attached to the shorts of an official of the game. Players must chase the official to claim the snitch!
If you have ever read the Harry Potter books, you will have an idea of how incredible the game would be in the world of magic, so I was slightly disappointed by the adaptation to the muggle world. Although the sport originated in the United States, my English university, and many others around the country, have taken it up with great enthusiasm. It remains to be seen whether it will become a serious sport like rugby, or will die out once people realise that joining the muggle quidditch team is nothing like the scenes in the Harry Potter movies ...